Medibank customer Yvonne Wilson receiving dialysis at home
If we were to design healthcare around the patient and their family, more patients would be offered the opportunity to receive care within the comfort of their own homes, or virtually, when clinically appropriate.
This requires an appetite for change from both patients and providers, to move away from the traditional bricks and mortar ways of working. Consumers have an appetite for change, but providers need greater incentives from funders – be that governments or private health insurers – to run healthcare in a way that puts patient needs first.
As Medibank continues to transform into a broader healthcare company, we continue to remain focused on our customers and their needs.
Our strategy is clear and it reflects our purpose of Better Health for Better Lives. We want to deliver differentiated products and services for customers, continue to improve healthcare value and relevance for customers, and expand the offering for customers and grow the business.
In my presentation to the Morgan Stanley Private Healthcare Forum, I outlined how Medibank is continuing to invest in strategic partnerships and businesses that will enable us to give customers more choice in how and where their care is delivered, when clinically appropriate.
By the end of last year, we were providing 384 virtual hospital beds each day, delivering care and support across Australia. More than 8,600 patients used one of our Medibank at Home in-home care programs or another of our pilot care programs in FY20.
We will continue to focus on partnerships with providers and clinicians; this is crucial. Both Medibank’s short stay program and partnership with Calvary to jointly deliver My Home Hospital for the South Australian Government demonstrates our willingness to work in partnership with like-minded providers, and we will continue to take this approach.
We need to be courageous in trying new things. There is scope to be bolder but innovation should be designed through a patient and provider lens. It’s vital that it is done safely, in line with clinical best practice and evidence, and delivers an optimal experience for patients and those that care for them.
We are taking a long-term perspective to the complex challenges of declining overall health in the population, and increasing reliance on acute care. Even prior to COVID there was a need for change in healthcare in Australia.
Affordability of private health insurance is a challenge, with premiums driven by health costs that are growing beyond CPI or wage growth. This is not sustainable for either the private or public system. The recognition of the need for long-term sustainability should be the greatest spur to innovation in healthcare in Australia.